The first time in history that the same rocket has launched a payload into orbit twice.
By Jay Bennett
SpaceX has done it. After working for 15 years to develop a rocket that can be used multiple times to launch satellites into space, they have proven they indeed have a truly reusable launch vehicle. The Falcon 9 first stage launched, deposited the SES-10 satellite in orbit, and successfully landed for a second time.
“It means you can fly and re-fly an orbit class booster, which is the most expensive part of the rocket,” said Elon Musk after the successful landing. “This is going to be ultimately a huge revolution in spaceflight. It’s the difference between, if you had airplanes where you threw away an airplane after every flight, versus if you could reuse them multiple times.”
The SES-10 communications satellite is on its way to a geosynchronous orbit where it will provide services to Latin America. But the real hero today is the Falcon 9, which slipped the surly bonds of Earth to put out its hands and touch the face of God. Twice.
Check out the video above to see the launch. If it’s too long, just skip forward to 18:47 for the launch.
This article was originally written for and published by Popular Mechanics USA.